Wednesday, January 07, 2009

RTN Using National Feed; CBS Pulls Password on Sundays, Rules Back on Mondays in March

The other day we gave you an update on what is happening at RTN (Retro Television Network). On Sunday morning, many RTN affiliates had an on-screen message saying the contract with Equity has expired. Then shortly after RTN resumed programming or was replaced totally. On Equity-owned stations, like in Buffalo, RTN has been replaced totally with other programming. RTN was once owned by Equity, but was sold to Luken Communications in June. Equity's contract to distribute RTN had been extended a week past its Dec. 24 expiration date but Dec. 24 also was the deadline on Equity's option to buy back RTN from current owner Luken Communications. Equity is no longer allowed to air the RTN programs on its stations, including WNGS in Buffalo. However, an Equity spokesperson said it eventually might be able to bring the RTN programs back to the Equity stations.
For non-Equity stations, RTN is now using its national feed to program RTN. RTN stations had their own local feed, but due to this Equity fiasco, RTN made a sooner-than-expected flash cut to a new master control and uplink center in Chattanooga, Tenn. By 9 a.m. Sunday, it was able to restore service to most of their stations (not Equity-owned stations, of course) with national feeds.
So what is the schedule like for this national feed? I suggest you take a look at the national feed schedule we posted, so you know what is going to air. Now there are reports that RTN is way off time right now airing shows up to 20 minutes late, so be aware of that. This national feed might be good for some stations because they will get programs that weren't on their local feed. Until this is resolved, RTN will have this national feed to all of its stations. It could be up until today or last the rest of the month or longer, so no idea right now. But it will be nice to see Munsters Today and Harry and the Hendersons on Sunday morning for those stations who didn't get those! If this conflict is still going on Sunday, that is.
There were only four major Equity-owned RTN stations that RTN lost: Little Rock; Buffalo, N.Y.; Panama City, Fla.; and Spokane, Wash. They account for less than 1 percent of the nation's TV households, a small fraction of the network's total reach, which now hovers around 40 percent. In any event, the lost affiliates will be replaced quickly by new affiliates.
RTN won't be allowed to air original programming that Equity had produced such as the late night series Unreliable Sources and Closing Remarks, so total classic TV fans are happy about that, I'm sure.
Equity also refused to transfer RTN's website to RTN. So fans looking for RTNville.com, the website is now MyRetroTV.com. On some stations, RTN is calling themselves MyRetroTV, as well. Will this fiasco force them to change their name, too? We shall see. I'm trying to get in touch with RTN (Mark and Neal if you're reading, please contact me!), and we hope to reach them soon. Due to all of this, their contact info has changed. We hope to try and sit down with them to get you all the information you need. Maybe another Seven Questions interview? We'll try!

CBS has altered its Sunday schedule for the next three weeks. They have pulled Million Dollar Password. The show was originally scheduled for its final two new episodes on Jan. 11 and 25. The show has been doing decent in total viewers but lagging in the adult 18-49 demo. This Sunday (January 11) a special 60 Minutes will air at 8pm following an NFL playoff game from 4-8pm. On Sunday, January 18, CBS will air an all-new episode of The Mentalist on a special night & time at 10pm ET (7pm PT) following the NFL AFC Championship Game from 6-10pm ET. The Mentalist will air immediately following the game on ALL time zones. So 9pm CT, 8pm MT and 7pm PT. In Mountain and Pacific zones, a repeat of The Unit will follow 9pm MT and 8pm PT. Pacific time will have local programming after the repeat of The Unit. Finally, on Sunday, January 25, Million Dollar Password will be replaced with an all-new Cold Case at a special time of 8pm, leading into the Hallmark Hall of Fame Movie from 9-11pm.
So what does this mean for Million Dollar Password? The following week is the Super Bowl, so it is not likely a new episode will air against that. It can't air on Feb. 8 because of the Grammy Awards and then starting Feb. 15 The Amazing Race returns to the slot. So looks like it will not return to Sundays anytime soon. What about Thursdays at 8? They have repeats scheduled thru January 22, but nothing has been booked for January 29 and Feb. 5, so the two final episodes can air then maybe? Survivor returns Feb. 12. I do expect these two episodes to air but not sure exactly when yet. We'll let you know.
Meanwhile, CBS has announced it will return sitcom Rules of Engagement on Monday, March 2 following Two and a Half Men at 9:30pm ET/PT. Worst Week will finish its 16 episodes on Feb. 9 and we won't know probably if that show will return next season until upfront in May. It doesn't look too promising, though. CBS will air repeats on Feb. 16 and 23 of other CBS comedies likely until Rules launches.
View our full CBS schedule updates.


New on DVD/Blu-ray (October/November/December)

2 Broke Girls - The Complete Third Season Two and a Half Men - The Complete Eleventh Season WKRP in Cincinnati - The Complete Series Hot in Cleveland - Season Five Sgt. Bilko - The Phil Silvers Show - The Complete Series
Family Ties - The Complete Series Happy Days - The Sixth Season The Jeffersons - The Complete Series Mister Ed - The Complete Series Mork & Mindy - The Complete Series

10/07 - The Dick Van Dyke Show - Classic Christmas Episodes
10/07 - The Flying Nun - The Complete First and Second Seasons (Mill Creek)
10/07 - The Middle - The Complete Fifth Season (Warner Archive)
10/07 - The Office - The Complete Series
10/07 - The Wonders Years - Season One
10/10 - The Wonder Years - The Complete Series - TARGET="_blank">Read Our Review / The Signature Edition / Seasons 1-3
10/14 - 2 Broke Girls - The Complete Third Season
10/14 - Two and a Half Men - The Complete Eleventh Season
10/21 - Married with Children - Seasons 5 and 6 (Mill Crek)
10/21 - The Soul Man - The Complete Second Season
10/21 - Square Pegs - The Complete Series (Mill Creek)
10/28 - WKRP in Cincinnati - The Complete Series
11/04 - Hot in Cleveland - Season Five
11/04 - Napoleon Dynamite - The Complete Animated Series
11/04 - Sgt. Bilko (The Phil Silvers Show) - The Complete Series
11/11 - Dads - The Complete Series
11/11 - Family Ties - The Complete Series
11/11 - My Favorite Martian - Best of Collection
11/11 - Taxi - The Complete Series
11/11 - Wings - The Complete Series (Mill Creek)
11/18 - King of the Hill - The Complete Seventh Season / The Complete Eighth Season
11/25 - Better Off Ted - The Complete Second Season
12/02 - Happy Days - The Sixth Season
12/09 - Barney Miller - The Complete Sixth Season
12/09 - The Jeffersons - The Complete Series
12/09 - Mister Ed - The Complete Series
12/09 - Mork & Mindy - The Fourth Season / The Complete Series
12/16 - The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis - The Final (Fourth) Season
12/23 - My Favorite Martian - Season Two - Collector's Edition
More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest


Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Friday, October 24

Last Man Standing - "School Merger" (ABC, 8:00PM ET/PT)
Mike and Chuck debate the merits of a local ballot measure merging their upscale neighborhood high school with one in the inner city. For Halloween, Ryan dresses up Boyd as a lump of coal – another reminder to Vanessa how her job as a geologist may be hurting the environment.

Cristela - "Mr. Felix and Ms. Daniela" (ABC, 8:30PM ET/PT)
After Daniela’s friend mistakes Cristela for the nanny, tensions flare between the two sisters and surprisingly it is Felix who brings them back together. Meanwhile, Alberto tries to get closer to Cristela in an unexpected way.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of October 20) (All times ET unless noted)

Friday, October 24

  • Jerry Seinfeld (Seinfeld) - Watch Jerry on a repeat of The Late Show with David Letterman at 11:35pm on CBS.
  • Sarah Silverman (The Sarah Silverman Program) - Sarah appears on a repeat of Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • John Mulaney (Mulaney) - John is a guest on a repeat of Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Melissa Fumero (Brooklyn Nine-Nine) - Melissa appears on a repeat of Last Call with Carson Daly at 1:35am on NBC.
  • Neil Patrick Harris (How I Met Your Mother/Stark Raving Mad/Doogie Howser, M.D.) - Neil discusses his new autobiography on The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
  • Sean Hayes (The Millers/Sean Saves the World/Will & Grace) - Sean visits The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
  • Amy Yasbeck (Wings) - Amy talks about the legacy of her late husband, John Ritter, and the foundation created in his honor on Home & Family on Hallmark Channel at 10am ET/PT.
  • Suzanne Somers (Three's Company/Step by Step) - Suzanne chats on The Better Show, so check your local listings.
  • Analeigh Tipton (Manattan Love Story) - Analeigh is a guest on The Better Show, so check your local listings.
  • John Lithgow (3rd Rock from the Sun/Twenty Good Years) - John talks A Delicate Balance on NBC's Today sometime between 7-9am.
  • Jenny Slate (Married/Parks and Recreation) - Jenny chats about her book (Marcel the Shell: The Most Surprised I've Ever Been) on NBC's Today in the 9am hour.
  • Laurence Fisburne (black-ish) - Laurence appears on The Queen Latifah Show on your local station or at 2am on BET.